LAWTON — Every year, there's a high school player in the state who appears to have the ability to be a Division I football player, but just doesn't get the recruiting attention to make it a reality.
This year, Lawton MacArthur running back Darius Graham seems to be that guy.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound back is the highest rated uncommitted player on the pre-Signing Day edition of The Oklahoman's Super 30 recruit rankings.
Signing Day will arrive on Feb. 6, and Graham's future plans are still unclear after a season full of misfortune kept him off the radar at many Division I schools.
Graham, No. 12 on the Super 30, rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a senior, despite playing in only six games. He missed five because of a shoulder injury.
“He didn't have the stats he had as a junior, and he didn't have that much game film, so he didn't get a lot of extra offers,” Lawton MacArthur coach Brett Manning said. “Some teams don't like to take a big back like him every year. Texas Tech really liked him, but they signed a big back last year, so they didn't want to bring one in this year.”
“He just really had a run of bad luck.”
Louisiana Tech represented another unfortunate situation. Graham had an offer, and really liked the program, but coach Sonny Dykes was hired at California. Dykes still wanted Graham, but his grades didn't meet the higher standards of the Berkeley school.
Several FCS programs are still pursuing him, including Northern Colorado, where he visited this weekend. South Dakota is in the mix, as is Division II Central Oklahoma. And the junior-college route at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M might be an option.
“If he really wants to make it D-I — which I think he can — NEO might be his best shot,” Manning said. “I'm afraid he's not getting some of the offers he deserves. He's just getting passed over right now.
“I'd be on him if I was a D-I coach, but there are just a lot of factors that are letting him slip through the cracks.”